Saturday, July 22, 2006

Balance Between Mind and Heart

As much as it is important to use our minds and intellectual abilities to understand theology, it is impossible for us to understand God fully. We want to be able to predict Him, to dissect Him, to carry Him around. We have a tendancy to put God in a box and restrict Him. Oh how wrong is that! It is not easy to have a balance between our minds and our hearts is it?

I was reminded today that too much of our time is spent in trying to chart God on a grid, and too little time is spent allowing our hearts to feel awe. By reducing Christian spirituality to formula, we deprive our hearts to wonder.

As I shared previously in my posts, I have been grappling with a number of paradoxes of faith and spirituality. Today I heard a still small voice telling me: "There are things you cannot fully understand, and you must learn to live with this. Not only must you learn to live with this, you must learn to enjoy this." What a challenge! Well the chances of any of my theology being exactly right are extremely slim, but I know that God has things figured out, and I just need to simply trust Him, worship Him and love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.


dorsey said...

Spot on, Kitty. The way we try to capture God into our understanding is the ultimate arrogance of the original sin. Isn't that what the serpent used to attract Eve? Telling her that she would have understanding from God's perspective? Everywhere I go, people are trying to get their heads around the Almighty. There are those who act as if it's the unforgivable sin to not have worked out a logical theology, even if it means swallowing the nonsense of determinism to make the logic work. Then there are the ones who have deconstructed God to such a degree that I may as well worship my goldfish.

A friend compares it to dissecting a kitten to get to the purr. In the end, you've lost both the kitten and the purr.

We must consider that any god that I could get my head around is not a god worth serving. We must learn to dwell in the mystery of God, understanding only that our understanding is worthless. If we would just stop spending all our time parsing every jot and tittle of scripture and focus on doing the love thing that Jesus talked about, then maybe we'll get off our duffs, stop being so arrogant, and let Light shine in our lives, not just in our condescending words.

Good post, Kitty. This tension between heart and mind has occupied me lately.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Kitty, we do need to be careful about making a distinction between the mind and heart. This is not a Biblical way of thinking.

When the Biblical writers use the word heart, they often mean the same thing as what we mean when we say 'head.'

Every Blessing in Christ


Kitty Cheng said...

Dorsey, it's so true that we all try to get our heads around the Almighty God. I think the analogy of dissecting a kitten to get to the purr is a powerful one. I suppose many of us are afraid to just dwell in the mystery of God and want to box Him, and how sinful we are!

I am sure that we are not the only ones that experience this tension between heart and mind.

Kitty Cheng said...

Matthew, when Jesus gave the greatest Commandment in Matthew 22:37, and Mark 12:30 He clearly distinguished between heart and mind. In the manuscripts of the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT), 'mind' is different from 'heart'.

In the context of my post here, I refer to 'our minds' as just head knowledge, whereas 'our hearts' are where we experience God. There is certainly a need for balance between the two. We can have all the knowledge and formula in our head, but without a true and genuine worshipful heart, and the awe we feel about God, it's useless.

I guess this is the tension that Christians go through, and that as we journey with God, we need to have a balance.

Anonymous said...

"There are things you cannot fully understand, and you must learn to live with this..." this is so true. He knows best and we just have to put our trust in Him.

God bless.

Kitty Cheng said...

Pia, trusting in Him is a lesson we need to learn every day isnt' it?

audrey` said...

Trust, worship and love Him...
You're so right.
I agree with you :)

Kitty Cheng said...

Thanks for your encouragement Audrey.